MEANWHILE, AT THE LAKE APARTMENT
out as she raced across the living room to answer the door.
"Stephanie Lake?" the deliveryman asked
as he looked up from the card in his hand. "These are for
you." He handed her a large bouquet of lilies. Stephanie
cradled them in her arms and slowly shut the door.
"Stephanie, dear, who was that at the
door?" Annabelle breezed into the room amidst a cloud of cigarette
smoke. Her eyes grew wide when she saw the flowers. "Oh,
my! Stephanie, who are those for?"
"They're for me, Mother! Who else
could they be for?" Annabelle tried to hide her disappointment.
For a brief moment, she'd thought that maybe Charles
had come to his
senses. Stephanie quickly began to fumble with the card and carefully read
the writing. "'Thinking of you'"
"Stephanie, honey, who are they from?
Who does the card say they're from?" Annabelle nearly burst with
excitement. She'd mentioned to Reginald a few weeks ago about Stephanie
and she'd subtly suggested that they go out. She remembered that he didn't
act very comfortable at the mention of her daughter's name, but Annabelle knew
how those society men were. First you have the socially prominent wife or
girlfriend and then you have the real love on the side. She'd learned that
over the years from her own many experiences with men.
"There's no name, just the message 'thinking
"There from Reginald, I'm sure of
it!" Annabelle grabbed her daughter and spun her around the room.
"Momma, how can you be so sure?"
Stephanie looked at her cautiously. "We haven't even started working
on getting him away from Jillian, yet!"
"Well....I sort of took the liberty a few
weeks ago to talk to him about you. He acted rather nonchalant about it,
at the time, but I just know that he was hiding his real interest in you.
You know how men can be!" Stephanie looked again at the
Did Reginald send these? she thought.
That just doesn't sound right. But...maybe? Oh, I hope Mother's
right! Maybe he has realized that he made the wrong choice!
Their conversation was disrupted when Sara
burst through the door.
"Sara, honey, what's wrong? You seem
upset?" Annabelle rushed to her niece's side and took her in her
"I-It's nothing. Really."
Sara tried to hold back a tear. She couldn't bare to tell them that her
faith in Dane's love was starting to waver.
"It's Dane, isn't it, Sara."
Annabelle knew instinctively that all of a woman's problems could be traced to a
man. "I can't believe that you let him take control of you like he
does! What you need to do is put your foot down and get him to marry
"M-marry me?" Sara looked up at
her through half-bleary eyes. She knew Dane would never marry her.
She doubted that he would marry anyone!
"Yes, dear." Annabelle sat Sara
down on the sofa and motioned for Stephanie to join them. "How many
times must I tell you girls that to truly hold on to a man, you've got to get
the ring and you've got to get the wedding. Until you have that, then any
girl with a half ounce of gumption can just come right along and steal him away
from you. Women are a competitive lot and men aren't exactly the brightest
when it comes to women. Sometimes we've just gotta think for them.
They never know what they really want." Stephanie considered what her
mother was saying and thought about Reginald. Sara wondered if Annabelle
was right. If she could get Dane to marry her, would that solve all of
their problems? Maybe...